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Ireland in Schools

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Key Stage 3 English Strategy
Years 7 & 8

This award-winning novel by one of Ireland's leading children's writers was chosen to provide examplar material for the Key Stage 3 National English Strategy.  

There are text units* and research units** for each year.

1. Y7 Text Unit             2. Y8 Text Unit

3. Y7 Research Unit     4. Y8 Research Unit

The story

Four kids and a cat visit the mysterious, uninhabited Lady Island, in Famous Five style, complete with food, matches and First Aid kit.
They are expecting some danger, but nothing prepares them for their encounter with the strange inhabitant of the island.

The structure and style of the book is not unusual, taking the theme of a journey and each youngster tells a short, symbolic, story, revealing much about their lives,
in the manner of Chaucer.

What is slightly more unusual about the bookis that the characters emerge changed after their story telling during what may be considered a fairly simple and safe outing.

They emerge more mature with their own


Siobhán kindly recorded - in her kitchen - extracts from the novel used in the study units:

Ch.1 Persuading Elizabeth     Ch.9 Kevin’s Tale

Ch.11 Gerard’s Tale               Ch.21 After and Before.

Please contact IiS and a download link to the files (zipped mp3 format) will be sent to you.

The author

Siobhán lives in Dublin with her woodturner husband Roger Bennett and their son Matthew, her personal proofreader. She also has connections with Loughrea, Co. Galway, and Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, where she was educated. Siobhan studied English literature and worked as an editor in the publishing and computer industries, and with a national research and development agency on housing and homelessness. She recently completed a year as Writer in Residence in the Irish Writers' Centre, and a year as Writer in Residence in the Church of Ireland College of Education. Her primary interests are reading and writing. She also sings in a choir (but quietly, in case she is found out!)

** Research units

The author - Siobhán Parkinson
Overview of ‘Author research’
- researching authors
- presenting findings about authors

Lesson plans (4 for Year 7; 5 for Year 8)
Teacher sheets, worksheets, etc.
Overview of ‘Ireland research’
- researching the cultural backgrounds of texts
- researching aspects of Irish culture
- presentation of findings - writing web site materials

Lesson plans (5 for Year 7; 4 for Year 8)
Teacher sheets, worksheets, etc.
Sample page about seals
A. Seals
B. Irish fiction for young people

Devised by Bernie Carroll, QLS, Staffordshire


 * Text units

The author - Siobhán Parkinson
Cross-curricular possibilities
Overview of unit
- author’s development of setting, themes and characterisation
- literary technique of developing an oral tale within a narrative in order to develop characterisation and the wider themes of the novel
- speaking and writing critically about the novel expressing an opinion, orally and in writing, on the book’s relevance and appropriateness to a contemporary teenage audience
Lesson plans (15)
Overheads, prompt sheets, etc.

Devised by

Marion Powell, Nottinghamshire Education Department &
Nigel Mill, The Wheldon School, Carlton